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Caddo Parish


     • People
      - Andrew Currie
      -
Ben S. White
      -
C. C. Antoine
      -
Henry Miller Shreve
     
- Huey Pierce Long
      -
Jimmie Davis
      - N. S. Allen
     
- Newton C. Blanchard
      
- Rev. W. T. D. Dalzell
      -
Ruffin G. Pleasant

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Caddo Courthouse

 

Caddo Parish Courthouse
500 Texas Street, Shreveport

 
The home of Thomas Wallace on Wallace Lake briefly served as the meeting place for the district court and the temporary government following the creation of Caddo Parish in 1838.
1

The parish used a structure at the corner of Texas and Market Streets in 1840, but in April of 1855 the courthouse was sold at a sheriff’s sale. Subsequently the parish rented a structure in the 500 block of Market Street from Ephraim C. Hart for use as the courthouse. 2

Waldman and Collins constructed the two-story colonial style courthouse on this site in 1860. 3 The courthouse saw three sessions of the state legislature once Shreveport became the state capitol. 4 Ten years later the structure was deemed unsafe and meetings there ceased. 5 The structure, however, was not demolished until 1889. 6

The second courthouse was built on the same site as the first one. 7 It was completed in 1892 in the Romanesque Revival style for a total cost of $86,000. 8 The base of the building was granite on a concrete foundation with walls of Philadelphia pressed brick trimmed with granite, covered by a slate roof.  In 1907 the courthouse was enlarged with two wings. 9  The jail, located on the McNeill Street side of the courthouse, was demolished and a new one was constructed on Milam and McNeill Streets. 10

William Jennings Bryan spoke from the steps of the 1892 courthouse in 1900 when he toured the nation campaigning unsuccessfully as the Democratic presidential candidate. 11 The United Daughters of the Confederacy erected the Confederate monument on the courthouse lawn in 1905. 12

Text Box: Caddo Parish Courthouse  c. 1890s
The live oaks on the courthouse lawn are believed to have descended from trees in New Orleans parks. In about 1903 Thomas Fletcher Bell, a Caddo District Court judge, bought the seedlings, and most of the twenty-four that were planted survived. In 1943 the Police Jury suggested cutting down the trees because of the birds, but residents protested. 13

The Edward F. Neild firm designed the present courthouse, and the Glassell-Wilson firm constructed it. The official dedication occurred on April 21, 1928. Taxpayers had a five-year, two-and-one-quarter mill tax which paid for construction, which cost $1,250,000. 14 Arches line the top floor of the structure and frame the central entrances. Ionic columns, exterior carvings, and Art Deco features are visible on the Indiana limestone exterior. Additions have been made to the structure, but it retains its symmetrical appearance. Harry Truman, then a county judge, was thoroughly impressed with the courthouse and hired Edward F. Neild as a consulting architect for the courthouses in Independence and Kansas City, Missouri. The latter courthouse closely resembles the structure in Shreveport. As president, Truman hired Neild for the reconstruction of the White House and then for the construction of the Truman Library in Independence. 15

 


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Parish of Caddo 2004©

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